Slideshow Widget

  • Cochem, Germany 2013 photo Cochem_edited-1.jpg" />
  • Heidelberg, Germany 2013 photo heidelberg_edited-1.jpg" />
  •  photo florence.jpg" />
  • Rome, Italy 2013 photo Rome2.jpg" />
  •  photo florence2.jpg" />
  •  photo Venice.jpg" />

Oktoberfest auf Deutsch?

Monday, September 9, 2013

I really thought I'd learn to speak German while living in Germany. I mean, English is a Germanic language. How hard can it be, right? And I picked up French in high school fairly easily and still remember lots of it.

Hoo-boy. I have a decent German vocabulary built up (if people speak slowly and clearly to me... or if I've had a couple glasses of wine) and I have a few phrases that I can say well enough that local Germans at least understand what I'm trying to say.

But the weirdest thing happens when I try to speak German: my Southern accent gets REALLY THICK. I mean, it just pours out like molasses, y'all. Of course I always have an accent- what self respecting Southern girl doesn't?-  but generally it's not so bad. I've never had a problem carrying on a conversation with a Northerner or even a Bostonian. When I lived in the Midwest, people generally thought I was from Pennsylvania. (I don't get it either....)

I have no idea why my Southerness makes it's grand appearance when speaking German, but it's one of the funniest things to Mike, and the looks on the German's faces are priceless. If you ever want to see a typically stoic German show several emotions at once, just watch when I try to speak to them. I've been told on more than one occasion by more than one German, "I do not know what you think you are speaking, but it is not German."

Well, ok, then. Pardonnez- moi. Oh, wait, that's French.

Since we're getting ready for Oktoberfest, I thought I'd show off some of my vocabulary you might like to learn a few words just for fun. You with me? Let's do this!

Oktoberfest -  a 16 day festival in Munchen (Munich) that celebrates beer. It's pronounced pretty much like we would say it in English. They don't say their 'r' quite as hard, but it's ok. Everyone will know what you mean. You can learn about the history of Oktoberfest here. You know, if you're interested in that sort of thing. (I'd call you a nerd, but I'm a nerd, too, and actually liked reading about it's history.)

Bier - Beer. Pronounced the same. Served warm and generally quite good. It's true that German beer kicks American beer butt. (But in my unsolicited opinion, Belgian beer is where it's at.) One of my favorite parts of fests here is that they serve your beer or wine in a real glass. None of this plastic solo cup business. It's all very classy, you see, and you can keep the glass as a souvenir if you wish. You pay a small deposit when you buy your drink (usually a euro or two) and if you turn in your glass, you get your deposit back but if you want to keep the glass you can. We don't collect them; lots of people do, though.

Tracht - costume or traditional country clothes worn by Austrians or Bavarians, but other German-speaking areas have their own version of tracht, too. Some of the styles have inspired an estate-manor style of fashion. A lot of times you can see traditional details from trachten showing up on modern riding jackets (think embroidery or button styles or maybe even leather lacings).
Modern Trachten with classic details. Pretty, isn't it?
Dirndl - probably the most popular form of trachten. It's a traditional Bavarian or Austrian dress that is based on what Alpine peasants wore. Traditionally, they were working clothes and over the years they've become fun and fashionable.

To be clear, I mean "fashionable" as in they come in lots of colors and styles and it's completely appropriate to wear one to a fest. I do not mean fashionable as in, "Let's go shopping in Paris tomorrow... I think I'll wear my dirndl."

Fun side note: dirndl really means maid or young woman and dirndlgewand refers to the dress she would wear. Today dirndl is used interchangeably. Also, what we typically think of as a dirndl is actually landhausmode which is a dirndl style dress but has a much looser interpretation of the style and is more of a costume. They also cost less.

Traditional dirndls. Kinda makes you want to sing "The hills are alive..." doesn't it? Picture Source: Wikipedia
Modern dirndl costume. Photo Source: Wikipedia
Aren't they adorable? And so much cuter than the American costume counterparts (you know, those super short ones with all sorts of lady parts hanging out). Oh, and ladies, be careful where you tie that knot! A bow on the left means you're available, on the right means you're married, engaged or otherwise "taken" and a bow in back means you're widowed. A bow tied in the center means you're a virgin. Advertise appropriately... you never know who you might meet. ;0)

Random side note: One of the things I really appreciate about Europe is that women dress themselves nicely here. (Read: skanky does not equal pretty.)

Lederhosen - (not LEE-der-hozn, but leh-dah-hozn) literally, leather pants. More specifically, these:

His socks are cracking me up! Photo Source

Photo Source

Cute, ja? I can't wait to see Mike in those. That's what he gets for laughing when I try to speak German.

Hey! You just learned another word, too! Ja! It means "yeah." You probably figured that out, though, didn't you? Smartypants. 
Buy these here
And, yes, women wear lederhosen, too. I love them and I think next year I might get some.

Hmm... what are some other Oktoberfest words I know?

Wein -  pronounced like vine... means wine. I like halb-trocken (half-dry) or Wein Schorle ... that's like a wine spritzer and is uber refreshing on a hot day. There are plenty of varieties available, just don't ask for a Cabernet or Pinot Grigio... you will get laughed and/or sneered at. This I know from personal experience. Ahem. If you're a hard core wine enthusiast and are unfamiliar with German wines, I'd suggest looking up what you like and what the German equivalent is beforehand.

Bahn is train. It's how we're going to get there and back. It's about a 4 hour train trip and has only one connection; I think we could go faster on the ICE train, but we're getting the Quer-Durchs-Land ticket. "Quer-Durchs-Land" literally translates to "through cross country" and this ticket is good during the week days from 9am until 3am and you can ride the German trains anywhere in Germany on it. It's fairly inexpensive at 50euros for 2 people and riding the train is just fun and easy. The weekend version of this ticket is called the Schones-Wochenende (means "nice weekend" or "beautiful weekend") ticket and is good on Saturday or Sunday from 12am until 3am the following day. If you live in Germany or will be travelling here,  check out the details of each on the Deutsche Bahn website. 

So that's the important stuff- what we're going to wear, what we're going to drink and how we're going to get there. I suppose there's food, too, but everyone knows what schnitzel is, right? (If not, it's a fried pork chop. I'm sure there are some subtle nuances that I'm over looking, but "pork chop" pretty much covers it.)

Oktoberfest begins this year on 21 September and runs through 6 October. I can't wait! Oddly enough, I'm most excited about riding the huge swing ride. Don't worry, I'll take a pic! If I love it a lot this year, I might be able to convince Mike to go again next year. Maybe. Fingers crossed.

If you've been before, what was your favorite part? What should we definitely not miss out on? Got any tips or hints for us?

2 Responses to “Oktoberfest auf Deutsch?”

  1. Rich and I went a few years ago when we were stationed in England. We flew (of course) and then took a train into Munich. We stayed in a campground called "The Tent" where it cost us like 10 Euro per night per person or something really ridiculous like that because we went with 4 other people. We all camped in a giant tent together and it was so much fun! Everyone did Oktoberfest during the day and then came back to the campground and hung out around campfires and made friends with lots of people from all over. The Aussies are so much fun btw!

    I've heard that you have to buy tickets to get into beer tents but we didn't. We literally just walked in several ones and were lucky enough to find seats for our group. I think our favorite was the Lowenbrau tent. The whole atmosphere in there was awesome with a live band and everyone singing and having a great time! I'd say try to go to a few different tents/gardens to see what you like. Each one feels a little different. DO NOT stand on the tables, they do not like that, but you can stand on the benches all you want. I'm pretty sure it's encouraged! :)

    Know that you probably won't each much your entire trip. I think I only had 1 piece of pizza, a chicken thigh and a giant pretzel in like 4 days. It's all about the beer!

    You'll be impressed with the waitresses! They carry like 10 mugs of beer in one hand (20 total) stacked high too! And if you try to pick up more than 4 you'll be impressed with yourself, those suckers are HEAVY!

    Also, if you're a thief like me, try to steal a real mug. They make cool souvenirs! But don't go around telling everyone that okay!? :)

    Have fun!!! I can't wait to see your post about it all when you get back!

    1. Awesome! That makes it sound like so much fun! We decided to go at the last minute, so we don't have tickets for a beer tent, either, but we'll see what happens. I'll see what I can do about a mug! ;)